LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- Middle of the road.

That's where the Mountain West's media forecasts Jay Sawvel's Cowboys to land in the standings this fall. Boise State, the defending conference champions, are an overwhelming favorite. In fact, those guys have been picked to win this league for 14 straight years.

UNLV, Fresno State, Air Force and Colorado State will also finish ahead of Wyoming, per this crop of voters.

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Why no love for the Pokes?

You can start under center where Evan Svoboda has made just one career start and 38 total pass attempts. Quarterback play is key. That position is unproven in Laramie.

Wyoming, like six other schools in this league, also features a new head coach. Only Boise State's Spencer Danielson shares the title of rookie with Sawvel, though he did lead the Broncos over the final four games of the 2023 campaign. (Nate Dreiling is the interim head coach at Utah State after Blake Anderson last week was put on administrative leave.)

How will the Cowboys' new-look, no-name offensive attack look under new coordinator Jay Johnson? Can this staff find depth on the offensive line? Who will be the second cornerback opposite Tyrecus Davis.

Wyoming won just one road game in 2023. That was a 42-6 beatdown of lowly Nevada in the season finale. That has to change. So does beating the Broncos. The Cowboys are just 1-17 all-time against Boise State, including seven straight losses.

There are certainly plenty of question marks.

There's reason to believe, too.

Nearly the entire defense returns, including newly-crowned preseason first-teamer Jordan Bertagnole. Aaron Bohl, who has worked on that side of the ball in some capacity for the previous five seasons, now slides into the coordinator role. Plenty of continuity and experience in this category.

Same can be said for the stable of running backs at Sawvel's disposal, beginning with senior running back Harrison Waylee. Remember Dawaiian McNeely? He's back. So is Sam Scott and Jamari Ferrell. DJ Jones, a North Carolina transfer, is also in the mix.

There have been plenty of changes since Craig Bohl's departure -- names on jerseys, new uniforms and music at practice, among others -- but relying on the run won't be one of those.

Placekicker John Hoyland will soon become the program's all-time leading scorer. Chris Durr Jr., a true freshman receiver, snagged a game-high 12 receptions for 121 yards in the Brown and Gold Game. The secret of John Michael Gyllenborg has begun to leak. The junior tight end is gifted. Like, could-play-on-Sundays-gifted. A healthy Sabastian Harsh and DeVonne Harris should also give a big boost to the Pokes' pass rush.

Reason for optimism? You bet.

Here is how I voted in the preseason poll:

1. Boise State

2. UNLV

3. Wyoming

4. Fresno State

5. Colorado State

6. Air Force

7. Utah State

8. Hawaii

9. San Diego State

10. San Jose State

11. Nevada

12. New Mexico

* Vote was cast before Utah State's Blake Anderson was fired last week

 

How the rest of the media sees it shaking out:

1. Boise State

2. UNLV

3. Fresno State

4. Air Force

5. Colorado State

6. Wyoming

7. Utah State

8. San Diego State

9. Hawaii

10. San Jose State

11. New Mexico

12. Nevada

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit: 7220Sports.com

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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